Mixtape Review: Easy Life - 'Spaceships'

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One of the most hotly tipped bands of 2019, Easy Life’s newly released mixtape ‘Spaceships’ showcases their love of American hip hop and R&B. Having only formed as a band in late 2017, Easy Life’s impressive rise has already seen them appear on Later... With Jools Holland and the Fifa soundtrack, as well as getting a shout out from Dame Emma Thompson herself.

The tracks on ‘Spaceships’ combine the flow and groove of American R&B with the mundane setting and observation of the likes of Arctic Monkeys that ground them firmly on British soil. Short but sweet opener ‘Mercury Retrograde’ plays with rambling hip hop similes to describe a burgeoning relationship that veer from the profound to the absurd (“finding her was very difficult, like playing Where’s Wally in a crowded room full of similar looking individuals” is a particular highlight). Meanwhile ‘Wet Weekend’ conjures up the image of that persistent brand of British drizzle through the medium of the kind of flow used by nearly everyone in the top 40 from Post Malone to Ariana Grande. Frontman Murray centres himself as the wet weekend in question, recovering from a difficult period and putting aside responsibilities for the timebeing.

Single choice ‘Sunday’ smooches and grooves, channelling Frank Ocean’s ‘Super Rich Kids’ as it recounts a lazy day spent hanging out with a lover with a distinctly Gen-Z spin. “I’ve never seen her type in upper case, that kind of energy is rare these days” muses Murray, shining a light on the small everyday things that you notice about someone when you’re falling in love. ‘Basics’ brightens the spotlight on observations of daily life as it mourns a simpler time “long before we were stressing over payslips”. Changes in the dynamics between childhood friends (“you used to chill with me and Frank but now you live with Jason”) battle against the idealisation of what came before when “no one in this world ever understood me” quite like their oldest friends.

The sparkling mundanity of house parties with their ever-changing line-up of the same kinds of people are the focus of ‘Afters’, drily observing “all these girls at uni like yeah my daddy’s rich but no one understands me”. A gentle groove with a breezy trumpet sample underpins the track, giving it a sense of yearning, building on the feeling that everyone at the afterparty is trying to understand themselves and how they fit in. Closing off the mixtape is the pensive ‘Jealousy’, in which Murray’s vocals take on a mumbling tone as if the listener is the love interest to whom he’s confessing his jealous thoughts. The beat has a trappy hint to it, whilst the synths provide a mournful backing for the insecurity and frankness behind “I fall short of who I claim to be, surely there’s someone better than me”.

It’s this vulnerability and open expression of the world they live in that makes Easy Life so intriguing.  This doesn’t just apply to the lyrics, the variety of their influences and the way they’re able to merge them into something fresh feels born of them growing up in the digital age with everything available at their fingertips. ’Spaceships’ sees them stepping back from some of their more pop orientated singles and firmly into the space of hip hop and R&B that have ruled the mainstream in recent years, but told through the lens of five lads from Leicester.

Words by Hattie Long